Dobcross minister features in BBC songs of praise programme

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 16 September 2020

A popular Saddleworth church curate and his family will share their special flock on BBC’s Songs of Praise this Sunday with the Rev. Kate Bottley.

‘Harvest in Saddleworth’ marks Kate’s visit to a Christian-run farm in Dobcross to meet Rev. Aaron Moffat-Jackman and his wife Gemma, who literally tend their flock - sheep on a field next to Holy Trinity Church, Woods Lane.

The couple, who use their nine-acre farm to educate others about looking after nature, have a real menagerie of animals on the farm from rabbits, ducks and geese to pigs and very friendly sheep.

Originally brought up in Manchester, Rev. Aaron’s first curacy (trainee vicar’s) post at Holy Trinity means he gets to marvel at God’s creation all around, every day.

Rev. Aaron Moffat-Jackman says, “I'm from Old Trafford, so part of an urban environment and you know,  it's close to my heart. I’m a Manchester United fan.

"And then when we went to try and find somewhere to do a curacy, we thought we wanted to have an adventure, or to do something a little bit different - Saddleworth became an option for us."

The couple and their two children Hope and Abraham, have been welcomed by villagers who see them join up to 60 chickens, ducks and three geese - Elvis, Priscilla and Little Richard - living near the 17th century church.

Said Gemma says, “I guess ultimately, having animals here in Church Fields, brings knowledge, joy and care for our farming community.  I hope Holy Trinity Church's little farm will continue to be a source of happiness for the village and foster awareness about farming in general.”

Rev. Jackman says: “As a shepherd of the Dobcross flock (in a biblical sense), it's been amazing to stand back and watch how our little farm has brought the community together.”

In the rest of the programme: in her first appearance on Songs of Praise as a presenter, Katie Piper visits a farm in Carmarthenshire to meet Eileen Davis, an archdeacon in the Church in Wales, who has been inspired by her faith to set up a helpline for other farmers who are finding it difficult to cope.  

"And in the urban district of Trafford in Manchester, the Rev. John Hughes explains how his church has become a hub for green-fingered enthusiasts who are growing their own food and as a result, are making friends which cross faith boundaries."
The broadcast is at 1.15pm on Sunday, September 20th

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